Influential Women in Business Awards: Erinn Pinkerton

Q&A: President and CEO, BC Transit

Erinn Pinkerton became BC Transit’s first female president and CEO in 2018 | Submitted

BIV is proud to recognize six B.C. leaders as 2021 Influential Women in Business Award recipients.

A Q&A with honouree Erinn Pinkerton follows.

What career highlight are you most proud of?

Being appointed CEO of BC Transit. While becoming a CEO had always been a long-term goal, I underestimated the positive impact that breaking this glass ceiling would have. I am proud to be able to serve as a role model for the next generation of leaders.

Your toughest professional challenge as a woman in business?

Moving up the ladder in the transportation industry and having the confidence to apply for jobs where leadership roles were not traditionally held by women.

Greatest advice ever received?

Focus on your strengths; delegate your weaknesses. Nobody is perfect, so acknowledge your weaknesses, but don’t let them hold you back from pursuing your goals. Surround yourself with people you can learn from, with diverse backgrounds and experience.

What do you wish you knew when you were first starting out?

Be yourself! Everyone has their own style when it comes to leadership. Be comfortable showing up as your truly authentic self and you will help create a more dynamic and diverse work environment.

What does it take to be a leader in 2021?

Emotional intelligence. We are in an environment where the global pandemic has created uncertainty for many organizations. Leaders have to be willing to challenge the status quo, build support and alignment across the organization and communicate often, while being transparent and empathetic.

What is your best habit?

I carve out time every day to take care of my physical and mental well-being. Whether that be an early morning workout, a walk at lunch or rolling out my yoga mat in the middle of the day.

A book you would recommend? 

Birds of All Feathers: A Guide to Doing Diversity and Inclusion Right by Michael Bach. Last year, like many others, I started to educate myself on diversity and inclusion, and this is a great book to get started on the subject. My favourite quote: “Equality is giving everyone a shoe. Equity is giving everyone a shoe that fits.”

One surprising or improbable fact about yourself?

I love airplane food. •

A video of this year's virtual awards gala can be viewed at starting March 8.